Blasting on to the Next Big Sound chart this week is British singer/songwriter Sam Smith.
The name may sound familiar, as Smith featured on the highly acclaimed debut studio album from electronic music duo Disclosure, alongside a long list of other acts with major talent, including Jessie Ware and AlunaGeorge. He followed this up with a feature spot on producer Naughty Boy’s "La La La" this spring, and now Smith is now in the midst of releasing his own debut.
2013 has been good to Smith so far, who has seen his online fan base steadily grow. Since January, he has added more than 30,000 followers on Twitter, and a similar number of Facebook page likes. He counts more than 1 million plays on SoundCloud in total, and close to 1.6 million views on his official YouTube channel, 140,000 of which occured in the last week alone. The most recent Twitter data indicates that 60% of his fan base remains concentrated at home in the UK, but the release of new music is helping to accelerate his rise and broaden his reach.
Smith saw a massive spike in SoundCloud plays in late July after the single “Safe With Me” was premiered on radio and given a positive review in Pitchfork. This resulted in more than 66,000 plays in a single day. His most recent release “Nirvana,” which caught the attention of DJ Zane Low and was spun on BBC Radio 1, resulted in him attracting more than 1100 new Facebook page likes on August 21, close to 7 times the daily average of the week prior.
Smith is not the only artist who has benefited from the buzz around Disclosure’s Settle. London Grammar recently signed with Warner Chappell UK, R&B electro-pop pair AlunaGeorge revived their 2011 track “You Know You Like It” with a new video and released their debut album Body Music to great fanfare. Eliza Doolittle has seen more than half a million video views on her YouTube channel in the past three months, a 107% increase from the three months prior.
Snagging a performance on a successful album can undoubtedly serve as a launch pad for relatively unknown artists. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Heist featured a slew of local Seattle talent, several of whom have risen in in popularity, most notably Mary Lambert, who stepped on to the world stage this past weekend as she stood alongside the rapper and producer and accepted the award for Best Video With A Social Message at the VMAs.
So if you haven’t already, make note of Sam Smith, who’s using just such a launch pad to carve out his own little piece of success in the industry.
Liv Buli is the resident data journalist for music analytics company Next Big Sound. Buli is a graduate of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and her work has appeared in Newsweek Daily Beast, Forbes, Billboard, Hypebot and more.